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Episode 202: Sentinels of the Seas

Bottlenose dolphins are a beloved Florida icon. But recent studies show disturbing signs of immune system dysfunction and disease plaguing this charismatic mammal. These problems might be linked to legacy contaminants and other pollutants which bio-accumulate up the ocean food chain. For decades, toxic chemicals have made their way into the oceans, leaving fish and marine mammals vulnerable.

As sentinels of ecosystem health, dolphins potentially hold clues to environmental hazards that could impact humans. Changing Seas visits the world’s longest running dolphin research program and other marine mammal centers for a better understanding of the silent threats lurking beneath the waves.


Meet the experts featured in this episode.

Special Thanks:


Holiday Inn
860 A1A Beach Blvd
St. Augustine Beach, FL 32080
(904) 471-2555


Quality Inn & Suites
4800 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL, US, 34234
(941) 355-7091


Hutchinson Island Plaza Hotel & Suites
1230 Seaway Dr.
Hutchinson Island
Fort Pierce, Florida 34949
(772) 595-0711

Image Credits

Changing Seas would like to thank the following individuals and institutions who kindly allowed their footage, images and other media to be used in this production:

Brian Cousin
Stephen McCulloch
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University

Chad Stouffer

Gregory Bossart
Georgia Aquarium

Hardy Jones

Janice Haney Carr
Jim Biddle
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Escherichia, Shigella,
Vibrio Reference Unit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mote Marine Laboratory

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA Fisheries/SEUS Marine Mammal Stranding Network

NOAA Marine Debris Program

State Archives of Florida
Florida Photographic Collection

All wild dolphin footage and images were collected under the following NMFS scientific research permits:
permit # 998-1678-00 (Greg Bossart)
permit # 522-1785 (Randall Wells)
permit #779-1633-01 (NOAA SEFSC)

Web Extras

Get a Close-up Look inside a Marine Mammal Transport Vehicle

Funding for this episode of Changing Seas was provided by:

Batchelor for Bottom Funders